Best Keyboard for IB

x0r34m's picture
Rank: Monkey | 51

Recently seen guys coming into the office with their own keyboards, mentioning stuff like short key strokes and what not and other characteristics that might improve work performance (M&A).
Are there any preferences or suggestions on this forum?

Comments (26)

Most Helpful
Apr 17, 2019

I'm only a masters student but I use a Genovation KB170 paired with a Ducky Pocket with Excel. In my opinion, this is as "extreme" of a set up as you can get in terms of efficiency in banking period. This setup is so extreme that if you used it anyone observing it would assume you were an Excel wizard.

The Genovation KB170 has 66 programmable keys with dual layer programmability meaning you can theoretically assign 132 unique macros to the keys. The second layer is activated like you would use SHIFT on a normal keyboard.

The majority of my programmable keys are assigned to Excel shortcuts or Macabacus shortcuts. So for something like Alt + O + C + A I would just press a single button. Font cycle - single button. The list goes on. I have something like 100 of these on my board right now. The KB170 is good because it comes with relegendable keys so I can just put a little piece of paper with what I have assigned to that key on it so I know what I'm pressing. Basically, I don't have to memorize where each macro is assigned.

I also use AutoHotkey which is a programming language for keyboards. I've set up my Genovation KB170 shortcuts such that when I press specific keys, AutoHotkey does actions for me. The Genovation KB170 is good for Excel because you can easily record many key strokes into a single button press with the software but you can't do things like open up Outlook, change tabs in your default browser, etc. That's where AutoHotkey comes into play. Your options with these two are literally limitless. I have only programmed AutoHotkey with my KB170 to facilitate Outlook and Chrome navigation but you can do a lottttt more.

I also have a Ducky Pocket because I'm a lefty and prefer a number pad on the left side of my keyboard. It's good because I can use my left hand to enter number values into Excel when copying them off of a financial statements, while using the arrow keys with my right hand. It's way more efficient using this layout because you're forced to use the numberpad and the arrow keys with only your right hand on a default keyboard. I've been practicing daily to up my WPM on a numpad. I can reliably enter around 240 numbers a minute into Excel rn. If you put a few years into this man you can be so much faster and 240 is already pretty damn fast for a numpad.

The only problem with the Genovation KB170 is it comes stock with what are called Cherry MX Black switches. Switches are basically the individual mechanics of the keys. The MX Black switch is notoriously bad because it's very heavy and scratchy - not ideal for someone typing a lot and in an office environment. I went through the painstaking process of desoldering every single switch on the keyboard - an insane amount because of the additional 66 keys. Also was the first time I ever fucking used a soldering gun lmao. I resoldered on Ergo Clear switches (hence my name) which feel amazing and are way quieter. They're basically Cherry switch housing, lighter springs, Cherry MX White stems (tactile bump) and lubricant. Imagine being stupid enough to desolder, take apart, put together, then resolder something like 170 switches. That was me. Took me like 17 hours lmao.

I only mention this because I can't recommend the KB170 with its default key switches unless you're comfortable using a heavy switch like the MX Black. It's truly terrible.

My recommendation for you is to do one of two things. Buy a gaming keyboard that comes with a row of programmable switches. The Logitech Gaming Keyboard G510 comes with 18 programmable switches. With something like AutoHotkey, I'd imagine you could program it so that if you pressed Shift it would change the functionality of the keyboard - this would require programming though. Even 18 programmable switches is a headstart though. Your favourite 18 Excel shortcuts are now a single button.

Another option is to purchase something like the Genovaton ControlPad CP48. It is basically 48 keys that are programmable, exactly like the KB170 I mentioned above. The only difference is the unit is separate from the keyboard you'd be using, so you'd have to position to the right or left of your default board. Note: Genovation also makes versions with less than 48 keys but I really think once you start using macro keys with Excel you can't go back. Again, these all have MX Black switches.

If possible, before you buy any keyboard I would try and figure out what key switch comes with the board and attempt to use it before. If you go to any gaming store they will have a variety of keyboards on display with various switch varieties. Another option is to purchase a switch tester on Ebay. Quieter options are MX Reds, MX Silent Reds, MX Browns - there are also clones of these switches which you can Google.

Good luck.

    • 25
Apr 17, 2019

The only thing more obvious than the fact that this is overkill for banking is how much you clearly just wanted to talk about keyboards.

    • 41
Apr 17, 2019

feels like an excerpt from american psycho lol

    • 8
Apr 17, 2019

this guy keyboards

    • 4
Apr 18, 2019

I've never seen someone so passionate about keyboards.

Apr 18, 2019

Wasn't expecting such an exhaustive response, thanks for the insights.
But would you agree that the prolonged key stroke of mechanical switches puts you at an disadvantage compared to the more "slimmer" keyboard layouts you often find on modern notebooks (apple macbook, dell xps...) due to more force or travel being necessary?

Neglecting premium response and durability I was actually looking for something slim and fast to type on without getting my fingers "stuck" in between those heavy and "long" keys? Does that make sense? Any recommendations on that, since your keyboard game seems to be quite advanced?

Apr 18, 2019

But would you agree that the prolonged key stroke of mechanical switches puts you at an disadvantage compared to the more "slimmer" keyboard layouts you often find on modern notebooks

I would very strongly disagree with this statement. I think typing on a mechanical keyboard puts you at a very strong advantage. Chiclet keyboards, like the ones found on laptops and cheap keyboards, are notoriously crappy to type on. With mechanical keyboards, things like force and travel are highly specific to the switch. You can have strong springs so you'll never bottom out of the key, shortening the stroke. You can have switches that activate higher in the keystroke so you can have a shortened stroke. But honestly, there's nothing wrong with having a long keystroke. The beauty of a mechanical keyboard is in how it feels to type on it. It's something hard to describe until you've used one for a long period. It's just enjoyable to type on.

I was actually looking for something slim and fast to type on without getting my fingers "stuck" in between those heavy and "long" keys?

I think you have it in your mind that a slimmer keyboard somehow results in faster key registration. Or you might have a preference for a shorter key stroke. It's hard to know. I highly recommend you drop into a computer or gaming store in your free time and just type on any mechanical keyboard they have lying around if you have 5 or 10 minutes to spare because it seems like you haven't typed on one before. Maybe someone in your office has one. I'm not saying this as a slight by any means, I hadn't before I bought my first one a couple years ago.

Based on what you've said and what I'm perceiving your preferences to be, I'd suggest you look into Speed Switches or mechanical switches with a shorter stroke.

For the speed switches, Cherry makes a bunch of varieties. Basically, they activate higher in the actual motion of your press. A normal mechanical switch doesn't actually register the key press when you hit the bottom of the key, it does it shortly before that. Speed switches just raise in the switch where the key is registered so if you press a key it will register ever so slightly before. A lot of gaming keyboards use Cherry MX Speed Switches. They look like a normal mechanical key switch though, so not slim.

You can also look for something like the Kailh Low Profile switches or Cherry MX Low Profile switches - see this image to get an idea of what they're like:
Basically, a more compact mechanical key switch. If you Google "Low Profile Keyboard" - you're going to get a bunch of options.

Maybe something like a Cooler Master SK650 or SK630 is appealing? They use the Cherry Low Profile switches I was talking about. The SK630 is TKL which means ten keyless which means it doesn't have a numpad - games prefer this because it allows for their mouse to have more freedom of movement. The SK650 has a numpad.

Again, I don't necessarily know what you're getting at with your comment. If you are only talking aesthetics, then a low profile keyboard makes sense. If you have it in your mind that slimmer = better, I would say that this couldn't be further from the truth. Definitely try out typing on a mechanical keyboard though, if at all possible.

Try typing on "Blue", "Brown", and "Red" switches. Those are the three main varieties. Blue switches make a clicking sound and provide feedback for when the key activates (registers a key on the computer) - they're too loud for an office environment unless you have your own room. Browns have minor tactile feedback without the loud click. Reds are linear so no feedback. Everyone has their own preference. After you figure out which type of switch you like you can get more creative, but most people stop there. A normal computer store should have all three of these varieties.

    • 1
Apr 18, 2019

Do you have a shortcut for Alt + O + C + D?

Kidding aside, I use two keybaords at the same time which usually freeks people out. Left hand on laptop keyboard one hand on regular. Probably has something to do with playing music.

Apr 23, 2019

Your level of stoke for keyboards gets me stoked.

"Out the garage is how you end up in charge
It's how you end up in penthouses, end up in cars, it's how you
Start off a curb servin', end up a boss"

    • 1
Apr 23, 2019

I genuinely thought this was just a very long and well thought out troll post at first. Apparently, he's not kidding.

Oct 15, 2019

When the shortcuts aren't short enough, you have

shorter shortcuts for shortcuts lol

Oct 15, 2019

Username checks out.

Oct 15, 2019

Actually using AHK to bind Excel key binds to a single key is a fantastic idea. I'm going to do that.

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Nov 30, 2019

you must get a lot of tail

Apr 17, 2019

I now know more about keyboard than ever in my life. Thanks for this excellent writeup. Probably the best comment ive ever seen here.

    • 1
Apr 17, 2019

Razer Black Widow Green FTW

    • 1
Apr 17, 2019

Don't be that guy that carries his own keyboard to the office. Especially not one that's obnoxiously loud.

I say this as someone who has spent exorbitant sums on keyboards.

That said Ergo Clears gave reasonable advice if you really want to be That Guy.

    • 2
Apr 18, 2019

I have yet to find anything that is so nice to type on as the Lenovo Carbon X1. It is my white whale.


Apr 19, 2019

Get a mechanical keyboard and annoy the hell out of everyone around u

Apr 23, 2019

I have a mechanical keyboard and it's great. My rec is to either get the quieter switches or add dampeners since you don't want to annoy the shit out of everyone around you.

  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Oct 15, 2019

Bringing own keyboards to work? Hahaha Not sure if I should be worried about those guys, or for their keyboards.

Either way, I wouldn't leave them alone with their keyboards in a room

Oct 15, 2019
Nov 30, 2019